Occupational Health & Safety

Millions Participating in Great ShakeOut Drills

The earthquake preparedness activities originated in California and now are taking place in many other countries. Thirteen states including California are taking part Oct. 18.

Residents of 13 U.S. states and citizens of some other countries, including Canada and Italy -– more than 13 million people in all -- will participate in the Oct. 18 Great ShakeOut earthquake drills, according to data posted at www.shakeout.org. The U.S. Geological Survey, FEMA, the National Science Foundation, and partner agencies are involved in this effort to make people better prepared for earthquakes.

Five eastern states, including some jolted by the 5.8 magnitude quake centered in Virginia on Aug. 23, 2011, are participating this year for the first time, and 1.1 million people have registered to participate in those states. The first ShakeOut drill was organized in 2008 in California using a scenario involving a large earthquake on the San Andreas fault; more than 9 million California residents, a record number, have registered to participate on Oct. 18. The drill begins at 10:18 a.m. local time in each participating state.

"ShakeOut is a great example of the public benefit from long-term NSF investments in basic scientific research and education," said Greg Anderson, program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences. "Long-term support for SCEC [the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California] has advanced our fundamental understanding of earthquakes and the threats they pose. ShakeOut will help people nationwide learn to respond to earthquakes safely and to protect their families and themselves."

Participants practice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On," the recommended procedure for self-protection in an earthquake. Some organizations practice additional aspects of their preparedness plans. States in the central United States will hold drills in February 2013.

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